Skip to comments.VA Employees' Union Cautiously Optimistic on Bipartisan Veterans Care Bill
Posted on 06/06/2014 6:32:19 PM PDT by mdittmar
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) expressed cautious optimism about recently announced legislation aimed at improving staffing and addressing wait times at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. AFGE also applauds provisions to extend advance appropriations to the full VA budget, expand GI bill benefits and enhance medical services for victims of military sexual assault.
The legislation, spearheaded by Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders and Senator John McCain, recognizes the severe staffing shortages at VA medical facilities by authorizing $500 million to hire new doctors and nurses. AFGE applauds provisions for expedited hiring authority and urges swift action to fill thousands of vacant positions at medical centers across the country, identify causes of high provider turnover and ensure regular Congressional oversight of VA's staffing practices. "As the representative of nearly 210,000 VA employees, it is essential that AFGE work closely with management to identify both short term and long term strategies for ensuring that the VA remains the health care employer of choice and that vacancies are promptly filled," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. The compromise bill drafted by Sens. Sanders and McCain will make meaningful progress toward getting our VA system back on track."
The proposed $500 million to hire new doctors and nurses is critical to getting veterans in the door and provided with quality care," Cox continued. "However, we cannot forget that our medical teams need the proper infrastructure to ensure quality care, patient privacy and clinic productivity. Therefore, as VA increases the number of front-line providers at its facilities, it also needs to provide them with enough support staff and clinic space to get the job done."
AFGE has grave concerns, however, regarding provisions that expand contracting out of VA medical care to private facilities. As many Veterans Service Organizations have expressed, such a move could jeopardize the quality of patient care since veterans will be left largely on their own to navigate care between providers lacking specialized knowledge of this population, without the critical care coordination for their complex medical needs that only the VA can provide.
The VA is the only health system in America built to serve warfighters and the unique conditions that afflict them, said Cox. "Contracting out veterans' care should be used on a very limited basis, especially given the great strides that the VA has made in expanding access for veterans in rural areas through smart investments in telehealth and mobile clinics. We need to double-down on these proven systems and deliver to our veterans the quality, specialized care they earned through their service to our nation.
If the unions are happy and Republicans are getting bi-partisan it is time to hold your wallets.
Co-sponsored by the same a&& clown that couldn’t be troubled to read a 2 1/2 page bill to all people to be fired at the VA? You know this is just a pay off to the unions and will eventually screw more vets.
Well,we got a rhino and a socialist making a deal;)
80% of VA employees are union.
They should just undo what JFK did and not allow any public employees to unionize. That would fix a lot of the country’s woes.
Ahhh, I see what they mean by bi-partisan now. They're going to take something mismanaged and ineffective and double-down on stupid. It's the Karl Rove strategy.
I have a sneaking suspicion amnesty for illgals will get put in this bill.
I agree.....no public servant should be unionized, except for first responders, police, firemen and emergency medics!!! Do that...and the VA problem will disappear overnight!!!
V A ping.
They can't fill the open positions right now. Doctors and nurses find dealing with layers of non-clinical bureaucrats dedicating their entire careers to make it more complicated to take care of patients so annoying and frustrating that dealing with insurance companies and Obamacare in the private sector is far more appealing. The VA has nearly doubled spending on hospital and medical care since 2000 but apparently too little of that was spent to hire nurses and doctors. Throwing even more money at the problem to hire more doctors and nurses when the VA can't hire enough doctors and nurses right now to fill fully funded positions is going to fix the problem? How????
You beat me to it, but that was my first question when I heard Bernie Sanders say that this bill would set aside $500 million to hire more doctors and nurses. It’s not the money that is the problem.since we seem to just print up what we spend anyway. It’s the trained, physical bodies who want to work for the VA system that is. Where the heck do they think they are going to find all these doctors and nurses at, from the unemployment office? There are way too few doctors now to handle the ObamaCare debacle. Just throwing more money at the problem, doesn’t generate more trained doctors and nurses.
Hasn’t anybody thought of how this country is going to get more physicians, since it takes going on 8-10 years to fully educate and train them? We’re behind the eight ball now. We need to get ahead of the curve to solve this medical personnel shortage. But then getting ahead of any problem is not what Obama or big government are capable of.